How has your life changed since the 1st of January someone asked . . . In response, life for everyone has changed in so many ways; we had a gift given to us by our president that day which wasn't well accepted by most of the citizens of our dear country.
Plans suddenly changed, people were unable to return to their previous destinations from their holiday points...The subsidy on fuel, the only thing Nigerian citizens enjoyed as an oil producing nation had been taken away with no warning. Rage is what most people feel towards the government at this point.
How does inflicting more hardship on citizens bring development when there are no services rendered at all? A country so blessed yet poverty thrives among her citizenry.
Rally points agreed on, unions coming together, youth activist movements ready to do their part to demand that the government do what is right by her people. Posts, comments flying all around, with one voice the movements started. There is so much to be said to the government, placards with all sorts of messages conveying our distrust and feelings towards the government are held up high. The national strike has begun!
'A breath of fresh air' which was the campaign slogan back then has become 'hot air' as I heard someone say in a salon. (I never liked that slogan, no one has the ability to give breath anyway, so....).
I didn't like the idea of politics before but as I grew older, I realised that in so many ways these things affect us all in some way so it would pay me more to know.
Driving through the empty streets on my way to work, fear gripped me. So many thoughts ran through my head (trust me you don't want to know...lol). Everywhere was shut down, all I saw at strategic points were armed security personnel who had created road blocks and seemed to be on the look out for something in particular. I slowed down to take a few pictures but had to be careful not to let them see me, I drove back and forth to get clear shots. I had never seen the streets of Abuja this deserted.
My siblings and some friends of mine who were actively participating in the protests kept me abreast with the situation. I was glad it had indeed been peaceful. Sadly, pictures of someone who was beaten then shot by the police emerged. More stories were heard as the days went by of more casualties from different locations, not cool at all!
This is a country that 'supposedly' practices democracy yet, a constitutional right is violated and there are absolutely no consequences for that.
On the other hand, some of these security personnel had been instructed to attack...I spoke to a few friends who were actively part of some of the youth activist movements, they had been camping close to the eagle square for days. I got detailed accounts of how their camp was attacked twice. These attacks were carried out during early hours of the morning on both days, these happened between 1am and 3am. Woken to pain and having to run for their dear lives and get their thoughts together on what next to do. Cell phones, cameras and different devices were snatched, some were injured from being beaten but their resolve kept them together.
This goes beyond the fuel subsidy removal, it's a release of all the frustration that has been building up. We as a people are tired of corruption, we have lost faith in the government, we can do and be better as a nation than we are now. Corruption cannot be eliminated overnight but this may be a start to it. We expect more credibility from the government, we want them to be accountable and responsible.
They had no business taking away the fuel subsidy yet when some things have not been put in place. Our refineries are still not working, we have no transportation system in place, the list could go on but in general, we have no faith in the government.
Nobody knows where we are headed but everyone hopes that the protests and strike action yield positive results in the next few days.
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!